Should Students Have an Incentive for AP Testing?

Cayla Hailwood, Staff Writer

  With AP testing coming to an end, students enrolled in AP courses can finally take a break.  However, as fewer students participated in taking their AP exams this year, teachers question ask themselves, “Should they give their students an incentive to take the test?”

  AP courses are designed to be at college level, and the AP tests measure the students’ success in the course.   If a student passes, he or she can be excused for a certain amount of college credit because they have already demonstrated their knowledge in the field.  The issue, according to West students, is that AP exams are expensive and interrupt other classes.  In order to encourage students to take these tests, some teachers have decided to offer incentives to those who take the exam and perform well on it.  Kaleb Davies (11) commented, “I think a grade incentive for taking the AP test is good because [a lot] of my AP teachers made me take them.”  If students are highly encouraged to take the exam, shouldn’t the teachers count it towards their grades with extra credit.”  Sini White (11) adds, “It’s good because you will see an immediate result on your grade, instead of having to wait to see how it affects you [academically] in the future.”  Unlike Davies and White, Austin Olson (11) claimed, “High school grades are supposed to be based on several months of work.  If you slack off all year and cram to get lucky on the AP, you shouldn’t get the grade the other kids have been working hard for.”

   Students must expect to work hard in the AP course, and must not depend on this AP incentive to improve their grades. Also, in reality, colleges wouldn’t provide extra points for doing well on the final, for it is expected of every student to do their best to earn the grade they desire. Even though AP courses are designed to be of college-level difficulty, teachers can justify giving incentive to high school students who decide to push themselves, those extra points for proving their success at understanding a subject at a college level should be acceptable.